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Trade Union Bill represents major attack on civil liberties in the UK

trade union banner_39Liberty, the British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) and Amnesty International UK yesterday published a joint statement condemning proposals in the Government’s forthcoming Trade Union Bill:

The government’s plans to significantly restrict trade union rights – set out in the Trade Union Bill – represent a major attack on civil liberties in the UK.

By placing more legal hurdles in the way of unions organising strike action, the Trade Union Bill will undermine ordinary people’s ability to organise together to protect their jobs, livelihoods and the quality of their working lives.

It will introduce harsher restrictions on those who picket peacefully outside workplaces – even though pickets are already more regulated than any other kind of protest. Unions will be required to appoint picket supervisors who must wear armbands and carry letters of authorisation, the absence of which could expose their unions to legal action.

Further proposals out for consultation could mean unions are required to provide a protest plan to employers, police, and other State regulators, revealing in advance if they plan to use social media, including Twitter and Facebook during their campaign and what they plan to set out on websites and blogs.

Taken together the unprecedented measures in the Bill would hamper people’s basic rights to protest and shift even more power from the employee to the employer.

It is hard to see the aim of this bill as anything but seeking to undermine the rights of all working people. We owe so many of our employment protections to Trade Unions and we join them in opposing this bill.


  1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

    “Trade Union Bill represents major attack on civil liberties in the UK ?”

    Seriously ?

    It really doesn’t; and who, (other than predictably the public sector,) even joins a trade union these days anyway, (what would be the point,) few people I know really see much point in the unions these days anyway and speaking from my own work experiences and notwithstanding that wonderful tradition of labored indignation, moral outrage and sanctimonious cant I think they’re generally speaking a complete waste of good oxygen for all the good they actually seem to do.

    Oh and hugely over paid.

    1. carol Hayton says:

      Perhaps you’d like to mention what line of work your in and at what salary so we can all contribute in a similarly sweeping way about your career choice.

      1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

        Feel free.

        1. Carol Hayton says:

          I would feel free but I’m still waiting for the appropriate response from you. What are or were your work experiences?

  2. Bazza says:

    And what have trade unions ever done for me?
    A shorter working week (and for many) weekends and evenings off, holidays, health and safety at work, representation at work when needed, free legal advice, education courses, equality issues at work, decent pay, the minimum wage and hopefully soon the living wage, the vote, a collective voice, negotiations, labour solidarity in the UK and labour solidarity internationally – to paraphrase Joe Hill – DON’T MOAN – ORGANISE!
    The capitalists legally nick the surplus labour of the working billions (who really create the wealth and make societies work) and organised labour tries to get more of their share back – you are either on one side or the other.
    Yes the Bill is a deliberate attack on trade unions.
    Including counting the 15.9m of our co citizens who didn’t vote – out of the TOTAL electorate the Tories only got the votes from 24% but in trade union ballots on strikes, with this draconian Bill for a strike trade unions must get 40% of the TOTAL trade union electorate.
    ‘Secondary picketing’ by unions (acts of collective solidarity) are now banned but ‘secondary working’ (bosses organising agency staff as strike breakers) will be allowed – laws which are clearly biased towards the bosses and the Tories are the bosses friends.
    They are even going to stop the check off system – having union subs deducted from your wages – attacking trade union funds when Hedge Funds (without shareholder ballots) gave £50m to the Tories before the last election (and got £145m in tax cuts).
    I have also argued that in TORY BIG BROTHER BRITAIN in trade unions only CERTAINTY WILL BE THE LAW -a yes vote or no vote for strikes will count but non-votes will count as against – so the democratic right to be uncertain and abstain will be abolished! And at times in union ballots like in ordinary elections a significant number don’t feel strongly either way.
    I think this vile Govt may be getting its grotesque ideas from the Repulsive Republicans in the USA influenced by the equally vile Tea Party (funded by billionaires) -it is also happening in Australia as Neo-Liberalism spreads its uglyness everywhere.
    Where I work many can’t be bothered to join a union (including some right-on Lefties) and we pay subs, we strike, we lose wages, we make the sacrifices because we have principles of solidarity but of course they take the better wage increase that we earn – how truly ethical.
    Everyone should join a trade union- the TUC should fund a leaflet ‘selling trade unionism’ and asking people to join, to every home in the UK!
    And it is great to see Jeremy Corbyn standing up for trade unionism!
    The more of us who are organised the stronger we all become and we should also be trying to trade unionise migrant workers and all newcomers, many of whom live in poor conditions and are used by unscrupulous employers to undercut wages – imagine the cross community solidarity if we could organise these groups.
    Solidarity forever!

    1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

      Notwithstanding my comment above which refuse to retreat from having made; every thing that you say about the tradition trade unionism in the UK and it’s facilitation of and contribution to the kind of robust, decent liberal society that I grew up in is a is pretty accurate.


      Then along came, The great Charlatan and his sticky fingered entourage and kinds of rock star salaries and pensions that, “the right sort of people,” would naturally, or so we were forever being told, expect.

      Union organizers had long and not without some justice been regarded as just another tier of middle management in many companies even before that, but now as their salaries and packages were ramped up exponentially it became just a job no less than for our shabby careerist politicians it became even more so just about the money and nothing else, getting their own kids into the best schools and keeping the others out, gold plated pensions and house in nice neighborhoods and so on until the social and financial disparity between the conditions and experiences of those people representing working people and the working people they purported to represent, has become an abyss.

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